Astria Ascending is an oldschool style JPRG with gorgeous art, beautiful score, and appealing combat. The game is splendidly crafted with lots of charm, having people who previous worked on JRPGs like various Final Fantasy games and Nier Automata, altogether to make solid work out of this.
In the world of Orcanon which is full of devastating beings called Noises, play as a group of eight Demigods in their journey of vanquishing them all to save the world. Encountering them commences turn-based combat where four of the demigods at a time battle against a few random creatures and monsters. Along with the main storyline and turn-based combat are a mix of platforming and exploration for unlocking abilities and customisable equipment. There is also variable difficulty of puzzle solving and minigames like ‘J-Ster’ when enough tokens are earned.
While the combat is mostly nothing out of the norm when it comes to JRPGs, it is still satisfying to play as you control multiple demigods each with their own unique strengths and abilities. There is a little twist to it where if your character hits an enemy’s weak point, you receive these focus points that can be used for additional damage. Even with the extensive gameplay the game is quite diverse with many characters to choose and swap between, levelling them up, and play along with lots of customizations and classes to keep the game enjoyable.
I do quite like the art and designs within the game, which is beautifully and creatively hand drawn. It is full of vibrant characters and backgrounds that are exciting to encounter and visit.
Characters and backgrounds are well detailed though occasionally characters are just standing in a weird position. The demigods themselves are all unique and full of colour including human and anthropomorphic beasts amongst others. The kinds of enemies that are fought are also vast, starting off being more standard with rats and robots, and later getting more bizarre with tree people, beasts and monsters with compelling designs.
Throughout the game is voice acting in both English and Japanese. While it is decent in English, having the Japanese voice acting on is the superior and more enjoyable way to play.
Dialogue being accompanied by voice acting a lot of the time does makes it fun to read and listen to, whether it be crucial to the plot or just random casual talk. With the large number of characters and NPCs to talk to, it makes the game quite immersive. The score is also superb to listen to with the variable tone and tempo that there are, including slower and somber music to instrumentals having faster tempo in more thrilling sequences. All in all, the soundtrack itself is worth buying to listen to.
Though the game is playable with keyboard and mouse, being a JRPG I was playing it with a controller which I found comfortable to play with in terms of both the controls and interface. This is because overall the game is not too complex so it can be easily played sitting back casually with a controller as opposed to sitting and playing with keyboard and mouse.
The game is a bit expensive but due to the length of the game and the entertainment it provides, the price is rather fair. I would recommend it mainly to those who are into JRPG games, otherwise to check it out when it is on sale. Overall Astria Ascending is a solid JRPG with a lot of fun and fascinating characters and absorbing world to explore.